From college students to senior citizens, high-risk driving is a multifaceted issue. But it’s not always the driver who’s at fault in an auto accident. If your vehicle gives out on you — and it doesn’t have to do with maintenance neglect on your part — you may actually hold stance in a courthouse. There are times when car manufacturers are at fault for an auto accident. Let’s go through the logistics.

What to know about automotive defects

Automotive defects mean the car manufacturer’s product is defective. Of course, not all defective products can help you win a lawsuit — like a radio, for instance. Here are the categories you should know about:

  • If your car has a design defect, it means there’s a flaw that can be traced all the way back to the vehicle’s design.
  • If your car has a manufacturing defect, it means there was an issue during the manufacturing stage of the vehicle’s production. It may not reach road standards of safety. It could be anything from headlights to brakes.
  • If your car has a warning or label defect, it may hold weight. These issues result when a car brand fails to warn you of a product’s dangers or risks via a label or warning statement. For example, you might see these with airbags.

Three main types of manufacturer liability

Now that we know the categories of defective products from car manufacturers, let’s dive into the three types of auto accident liability you may see in court. While liabilities may change from state to state throughout the US, here are the main ones:

  1. Strict
  2. Negligence
  3. Breach of warranty

Strict liability means the car manufacturer takes the blame for their defective products, which ended up causing damage to you, your vehicle or even a bystander.

Negligent liability means they may not have intentionally meant to cause harm, but ended up doing so based on design, manufacturing or another piece of the puzzle.

As for breach of warranty, this means the defective product you’re highlighting is actually a breach of the car’s warranty (both implied and explicit warranties count here).

Take this evidence with you to court

Want to solidify your position against car manufacturers in court? Then you should come prepared.

How will you prove the vehicle’s defect that caused the auto accident? How will you prove your personal injury (this could mean medical records)? Can you tie a link between the two, beyond correlation?

Do you have proof of vehicular damage, like photographs and auto body technician statements?

If the police were called, do you have a copy of the report? What about any witness statements who were on the auto accident scene?

Has any other owner of the same car experienced the defect as well? If so, grab their testimony.

Know your rights as a driver

Believe it or not, car manufacturers are obligated to keep you safe. By putting their products out in the world, they must comply with standards of safety set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). With that in mind, safety within your ride is a right, not a privilege.

If you suffer an auto accident as a result of negligence or other car manufacturer fault, know that you can take the big guys to court. You may just be one person, but you deserve justice — and holding these companies accountable for their actions will only help improve safety for others going forward.

Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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    5 Comments

    1. I think recalls are the most tell tell issues where the manufacturer is held liable. Anything else may be hard to fight.

    2. oh boy, we are talking legalities!
      If you can “solidify your position against car manufacturers in court” over an accident, I would guess you could turn around and sue the car manufacturer.
      Have fun with your 10 year court battle against a multi-billion dollar corporation
      YIKES

    3. If you have the documentation and a legal representative, then take it to court. If you feel you will not be able to win you should still report the issue, maybe then you will find that you can join a class action lawsuit.

    4. Seems impossible to take on a car manufacturer. But if you have a brand new car and the brake pedal doesn’t work, I guess you need to defend yourself!

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